Welcome to Music City Miracles’ Tennessee Titans 2023 Roster Profile! Between now and August, MCM will feature more than two dozen talents. The main goal is to highlight underrated contributors and key rotational players. We’ll throw in the odd superstar or roster-bubble player, but we’re mainly focused on spotlighting the middle of the roster. That’s where key depth helps define a roster’s ceiling.
Today, we’re analyzing quarterback Malik Willis.
Entered League: No. 86 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft
Years with team: 2
“Malik Willis signed a 4 year, $5,160,100 contract with the Tennessee Titans, including a $932,800 signing bonus, $932,800 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $1,290,025. In 2023, Willis will earn a base salary of $939,550, while carrying a cap hit of $1,172,750 and a dead cap value of $699,600.” Spotrac
By all accounts, second-year quarterback Malik Willis has showcased much-needed growth throughout the offseason. Reports coming out of OTAs insinuated that Willis was a more decisive quarterback with better footwork, accuracy and overall mechanics than the version we watched play in 2022. Members of Tennessee’s coaching staff have been impressed with Willis this summer.
Willis continues to work with quarterbacks coach Sean McEvoy and the terrific people over at QB Takeover. Willis is dedicated to his craft. Drafting Will Levis appears to have lit a fire under Willis, who understands he’s battling for a spot on the final 53-man roster.
Willis’ rookie campaign left plenty to be desired. Willis was forced into action by Ryan Tannehill’s recurring, and eventual season-ending ankle injury. Willis was far too raw to handle the speed of professional football.
Willis ultimately appeared in seven regular-season contests. He completed just 50.8 percent (31-of-61) of his passing attempts. Willis threw three interceptions versus zero touchdowns and lost multiple fumbles. The Titans barely trusted Willis to throw the football despite starting him in three games.
The final straw was a 14-of-23, two-interception performance in an embarrassing loss to the Houston Texans. Willis was then benched in favor of veteran journeyman Joshua Dobbs, who had spent less than two weeks with the team. The Titans then drafted Levis, which signaled a lack of faith in Willis’ ability to develop into a starting quarterback.
Willis isn’t guaranteed a spot on the 53-man roster. The Titans have carried two quarterbacks throughout Mike Vrabel’s tenure. Both Tannehill and Levis are locks, leaving Willis to potentially be the odd man out.
Willis must impress throughout training camp and the preseason to convince the Titans to carry a third quarterback. A new league-wide rule regarding a third emergency quarterback could increase Willis’ chances. Willis is in the midst of a crucial summer.